GROW! 2022 Open House to be held Sunday, August 28, at 11:30am

Marciavee Cossette, GROW Vice-President, prunes tomatoes in the hoophouse

Hold the date for our 2022 Open House on Sunday, August 28, at 11:30am! The festivities will begin with a blessing for our new orchard by Trinity Lutheran Church Pastor Andrew Hinderlie. We will have tours of the new 36-tree Community Orchard as well as various drip irrigation systems and the new 35-variety tomato test garden. Refreshments and children’s activities will be available as well.

Community Garden Work Day on Saturday, August 6, at 9am

Garden Work Day, 2021

Many hands make for light work! We will be spreading bark, weeding the new orchard, organizing the garden shed, and working on the compost bins on Saturday, August 6, at 9am. Please join us for a fun work day and see how all the new fruit trees have grown since we planted them last spring!

You can also check out our 35-variety tomato test garden and sample some of our produce! Herbs will also be available from the Little Free Garden.

We will have tools, snacks, and water. Questions? Contact Board President Gray Henderson, gray@growboundarycounty.org, 520-561-0643.

Spring class series includes classes on roses, tomatoes, and mushrooms in the garden

Spring 2022 Growing with GROW! classes will be held on Thursdays from 2-5pm starting May 12. Topics include planting for pollinators, growing tomatoes in North Idaho, growing roses in North Idaho, and growing beneficial, edible mushrooms in your garden. All classes will be held at the Kootenai River Inn and Casino’s Ktunaxa Room in Bonners Ferry. Classes are $10 per person for current GROW! members, $20 per class for nonmembers, or as noted, payable at the door. All proceeds support the GROW! Community Garden. A detailed schedule is available here.

Idaho Gives campaign for Idaho Nonprofits

Support your local nonprofits in Idaho with this annual campaign to promote good causes in your community! We are so grateful to our generous supporters in Boundary County who make all our activities possible! This year, we were able to plant 40 fruit trees in the community garden. Please consider a donation to help us complete this project! You can donate or read more about our activities here.

Community Orchard Planting Day!

Art Church’s Copeland orchard in bloom

Please join us on Wednesday, March 30, at 10am as we plant our Boundary County Community Orchard! We will be planting 40 bare-root trees on the west side of the Boundary County Community Garden.

These trees include an interesting selection of new and old varieties that thrive in Boundary County, from old favorite peaches, pears and plums to jujube, nectarines, plouts and pluerries (plum-cherry cross). They will be densely planted, irrigated with a drip system, and mulched. The mulch will be inoculated with edible King Straphoria mushroom spores.

This community orchard will serve many purposes, from demonstration and teaching to supplying the community with high quality fresh fruit. We really appreciate the support of the community, both individuals and businesses, for this exciting new project. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Kate Painter, 509-432-5755, Gray Henderson, 520-561-0643, or Art Church, 208-217-3492.

Gardening with GROW! Winter Class Series

Boundary County orchard, Copeland

GROW! is offering a series of gardening classes this winter, with a focus on orchard production, including planning, variety selection, pruning, pollinators, and grafting! We have limited space available for each class, so sign up early! Registration opens on Jan. 1, via Eventbrite, here.

Classroom sessions will be held at the Kootenai River Inn Ktunaxa Room on Wednesday evenings from 6-8:30 pm. Hands-on sessions will be held at the Paradise Valley Grange Hall and at the GROW! Community Garden. Most courses are $20 per person. GROW! members receive a 50% discount on course fees upon payment of 2022 dues here. Limited scholarships are available.

Giving Tuesday — Tuesday following Black Friday — Supports Local Nonprofits

This year’s campaign will help support a 40-tree demonstration and teaching orchard project as described in the flyer above. Come see us at our booth at Super 1 on Tuesday, Nov. 30, from 9am to 6pm! You can donate via check, cash or electronically, through the Paypal Giving Fund, which charges no fees on donations, here:

Garden “Open House” on Wed., August 4, from 10am to noon

Perennial herb gardens at the GROW Community Garden are a Little Free Garden, so you can help yourself to some fresh herbs!

Please join us on Wednesday, August 4, from 10am to noon, to view our demonstration gardens, including hoophouses, tall raised bed rentals, easy automatic watering systems, cover crops for your garden, and an easy no-turn composting system. We will be offering free refreshments and herb bundles to take home! The GROW Community Garden is on the grounds of Trinity Lutheran Church, at 6634 Buchanan St., Bonners Ferry, ID. For more information, contact Kate Painter at the UI Extension Office, 208-267-3235.

GROW! seeks interested community members for board and officer positions

2019 Farm to Table dinner at BeeHaven Flower Farm

“An enchanted evening!” is how one woman described last year’s annual Farm to Table Fundraiser. Join us for a presentation on our 2019 achievements, followed by election of officers and board members. GROW’s annual membership meeting takes place Monday, January 27, at 5pm at the UI Extension Office. Refreshments will be served.

There are many ways to support your community garden organization. You can volunteer to be on a committee, such as the annual Farm to Table fundraiser, the Little Free Garden committee, or the community garden committee. You can serve as an officer or a board member. You can help build more raised beds or coordinate volunteer activities. All are welcome! Our regular meetings are held the 1st and 3rd Mondays at 6pm at the Bonners Ferry Visitors Center. Please contact Kate Painter at the UI Extension Office for more information: kpainter@uidaho.edu or (208) 267-3235.

GROW! Annual Report to Trinity Lutheran Church

Board members cleaning up the GROW Community Garden last fall

Interested in finding out what we’ve been up to lately? Below is our 2019 Annual Report! You can also download it here.

We have now completed our 11th year of gardening on the grounds of Trinity Lutheran Church facing Buchanan Street. With the church providing space to grow organic vegetables for our community and especially for the Food Bank, i.e. Community Action Partnership, and the United Methodist Church for their free weekly lunches, in 2019 we have been able to provide our community with over 2700 pounds of nutritious food for some of our most at-risk residents.  In another productive year, GROW continues to move ahead with its mission of providing more food security for residents of Boundary County.

    Our fourth Farm to Table event this past September engaged the community, including other small local producers in the area, and encouraged conversation about healthy food production in our county. Our successful fundraising dinner uses produce from the community garden as well as additional donated organic vegetables, fruit, dairy products, and meat from other local growers and supporters. This event, which was held at BeeHaven Flower Farm this year, helps all of our partners in the Farm to Table Fundraiser event become better acquainted and shows what we can do when we work together, particularly in terms of a local food system. In addition, the event encourages participants to support each other and Buy Local!

    This year, GROW received a $2500 grant from the City of Bonners Ferry through their Blue Cross of Idaho High Five grant to help fund our new Little Free Garden project. These raised bed gardens offering free produce to communities are similar to the nationwide Little Free Library project, run by volunteers and located throughout our community. This year, we created 22 Little Free Gardens, which can be viewed at http://www.littlefreegarden.com/map. One of the gardens is located on the west side of TLC. Another garden, a perennial herb garden, is located on the grounds of the TLC-GROW garden. We recently applied for an additional $2500 as we have at least 10 more businesses who would like to participate next year.

    One of our board members, Tony Klinkhammer, donated mushroom spawn and bark chips so that we could create a mushroom bed of Garden Giant (Stropharia rugosoannulata). This species is edible and it also helps enrich the soil as it breaks down bark chips. This mushroom demonstration bed will be used when we teach mushroom cultivation courses through the University of Idaho (UI) Extension office.

    George Bevan, another GROW Board Member, created a wooden sign for the TLC-GROW garden gate. This beautiful sign, created in the lab at our local library, thanks TLC for allowing us to use this ground for the community garden.

    GROW Supporter Michael Richardson, owner of Skywalker Tree Care, regularly donates chips to the TLC-GROW garden. Through his generosity, we were able to create a new central path in the garden. We used grant funds to purchase landscape fabric as an underlayment to deter weeds.

    For the second year in a row, two volunteers from the UI Extension Master Gardener program planted a children’s garden in one of the TLC-GROW garden plots. A granite marker with inscription donated by Shirley Anderson, from her family owned business North Idaho Granite, marks the children’s garden. These two Master Gardener volunteers worked with the preschool at Trinity Children’s Center to arrange biweekly visits to the garden all summer. We hope to continue this popular program next year.    

    All the members of GROW and others who work in the garden are volunteers except for the Garden Manager. Last year GROW members, UI Extension Master Gardeners and members of the community provided over 900 hours of volunteer labor in the garden, at raffle sales, Farmers Markets, the Farm to Table event, GROW meetings, and in committee work. Many of our volunteers still work, some have gardens at home, and some are retired but have numerous volunteer responsibilities. We hope to bring more volunteers and members into our organization’s endeavors in 2020. 

    The Garden Manager is GROW’s only paid position. The Garden Manager plants, weeds, harvests, assists with clean up, handles scheduling of volunteers, attends meetings, assists with our Farm to Table event, and reports to the board on a variety of topics. We are fortunate to have Josh Nichols in that position; his knowledge of gardening and all it entails is invaluable. GROW officers and board members are listed below.

    GROW continues its history of fiscal responsibility while maintaining its focus on providing healthy food to the community as mentioned above and seeking an expanded community awareness and support of food sustainability for Boundary County.  Because of the costs of the Garden Manager, port-a-potty rental, water, and other miscellaneous expenses, we held one raffle this past year. Membership dues continue to assist us in our operations. Revenue from participation in three Farmers Markets helped us meet expenses and provided the opportunity to share our mission, interest people in joining and volunteering, and sell garden produce. 

    Trinity Lutheran continues to offer their land to us which supports GROW’s work in the community by providing:  healthy, organic produce to those in need, a place to grow food for those who are unable to garden where they live, a meeting place for community members, seasonal employment, organic gardening and food-related classes, volunteer opportunities in and out of the garden, and an introduction to adults and children to organic gardening, and more. We welcome TLC’s input and involvement in any and all aspects of our organization.